PTAB Trends: More Orange Book Patents Are Surviving the ‘Death Squad’
Since its inception, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) has been a frequent venue for patent challenges in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. By the end of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) 2018 fiscal year, patents in those fields were targeted in nearly 10% of all petitions for inter partes review (IPR), totaling approximately 900 individual petitions. Of these 900 petitions, roughly 5% challenged patents listed in the FDA’s Orange Book for approved drug products. The remaining petitions challenged biologic drugs (1.3%) and other biologic-, biotechnology-, or pharmaceutical-related patents (3.5%). Many of these petitions have ultimately resulted in the cancellation of all challenged claims, including those of a significant number of Orange Book patents. Based on the PTAB’s initial high rate of claim cancellation in pharma and other areas, critics of the PTAB were quick to deem it a patent “death squad.” Does the PTAB still deserve the “death squad” label when it comes to Orange Book patents? In this article, we examine the rates of challenge, institution, and final written decision outcomes for patents listed in the Orange Book, from the PTAB’s inception through the end of its 2018 fiscal year.